If I had a whole day with absolutely nothing to do (ha, ha!), how would I spend my time? Reading, of course!
I’ve mentioned before that I love children’s books; our home is filled with them. We make trips to the library *almost* every day and frequently walk to the Half Price Books on the corner. It shouldn’t have shocked me when my older daughter started reading at a young age, but I think she loves books even more than I do. (She was trying to read in the dark in the car the other night…by the light of the headlights behind us.)
I’ll be honest with you: I’ve been shirking a bit when it comes to actually reading aloud to the girls. Yes, we have lots of books all over the place and Addie loves to read to her little sister, but I haven’t been so great about sitting down on the couch and reading together every day.
My good friend Veronica of Seven Lovely Things told me about the Read Aloud Revival podcast from Sarah Mackenzie, and I’m so thankful she did! I’m eagerly devouring each episode after lunch while I soak up some sunshine and the girls run around outside.
My favorite episode is still the first one, with special guest Andrew Pudewa. His points about reading aloud to older children was both inspiring and convicting.
“It’s actually the age that children start to read aloud on their own that they most need to be read to–at a level above their decoding skills.”
He goes on to talk about how children (and all of us, if we’re truthful) tend to read faster silently, skipping words and idioms that they don’t know in order to get more of the plot/action. When we read aloud, we must take the time to read slowly, savoring longer passages of descriptions and beautiful language.
Now that we’re more than halfway through the school year, I’m taking some time to re-prioritize our afternoon routines, including more outside time and then a delicious time of reading aloud together on the couch before we retreat to separate corners for rest.
I’m purposely choosing chapter books I haven’t read before so we can discover new stories together. Each guest on Sarah’s podcast shares some of his/her favorite books, and I’ve been adding books to our “must read” list on Goodreads. Kate usually picks a short story off of her bookshelf that we read first (lately, it’s been a Caillou book from Chick-fil-A), and then I follow-up with a richer picture book before reading a chapter out of Addie’s book.
We’ve had such a lovely time together that both girls are eager to go inside after outside time because they know that I’m going to read to them before bed. I’m excited about the natural discussions that Addie and I are having about vocabulary and culture, and I absolutely love that she picks up our finished books for her own independent reading time.
We’re building our family’s culture around books (the tagline for the Read Aloud Revival podcast), and I’d love to have your family join in the fun. I’m adding my favorite resources to this Pinterest board–let me know if you stumble across any other “can’t miss” blog posts, books, or podcasts!